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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
So, we are done with the liquid effect. The droplets look just sensational as you can see here, but this is the final version of the image, Slippery when wet.psd, and one of the things that really sails it is the fact that the water is not only reflecting the light and casting shadows as well, very slight shadows as you can see here, but it's also refracting the light. So it's a refracting the wood texture in the background, and the wood is actually bending.
We are seeing the seam in the wood bend as it intersects water, and it wraps around the water, then it flattens out because the water is flat at this point, and then it wraps down the droplet as well. I really want to show you how to create that effect. It's not necessarily easy, and it's not necessarily hard either. If you just follow along with my steps, you will get the right results. The problem is you have to wrap your mind around basically an entirely new filter here inside of Photoshop. Photoshop provides a lot of distortion functions, and we are going to see many of them in the next exercise; things like Free Transform and Liquify, and the new Puppet Warp command.
What we're about to see in this exercise - and it's going to provide a kind of transition between this chapter and the next. This is a very old distortion function. It's very powerful. Here's how it works. I am going to a switch to Alternative water.psd, which represents my progress so far, incidentally. So we've got the droplets, the layer effects. We've got the background surface, that is, the wood, but we don't have any distortion. We don't have any refraction inside the water. This file is, of course, found inside the 21_layer_FX folder.
We are now going to sit down and build ourselves what's known as the displacement map. This displacement map will displace the water. It will create a refraction, as you'll see. So step number one is to expand the size of this file to its original size. I am going to do that by going to the Image menu, choosing Canvas Size or pressing Ctrl+Alt+C, Cmd+Option+C on the Mac, then entering the exact opposite of the values that I used to crop the image. That is, I am going to take the Width value up to 200 pixels and Height value to 200 pixels as well with Relative turned on.
Now if you were working along with me the inside of a different file and you decided to take my advice to subtract 40 pixels from the Width and 40 pixels for the Height, put them back. We are only putting them back temporarily here just for the sake of the creation of this displacement map. So click OK in order to grow the image once again. I will go ahead and zoom out so we can see that I've expanded the image all the way to those bad edges, which is what we want. Now I want you to Ctrl+click or Cmd+ click on the thumbnail, very important that you click the thumbnail for the droplets layer.
That will go ahead and load that selection outline. So it exactly selects the black pixels on that layer and accurately distinguishes the opaque areas from the transparent areas. Now we need to save off the selection, but we have to save it as an Alpha channel, which means we could go the Channels panel and do all that number. However, this function that I'm about to show you requires that you're working with a displacement map that's available inside of a completely different file. It has to be a unique file from the one you're working on.
So you have to go up to the Select menu. This is the easiest way to work, and choose Save Selection. Again, if you just do everything I am doing, your results will be exactly like mine. So go ahead and choose Save Selection, and I want you to set Document right here to neither of the documents that I have opened, rather, we are going to go ahead and choose New, and that's it. So set Document to New. We don't care about the other junk. Channel is going to automatically be New. We will name the file when we save it, click OK in order to create that new file, and there it is.
Go back to Alternative water or whatever is the name of the file that you're working on, and I want you to back step a few operations here. I want you to press Ctrl+ Alt+Z a couple of times. So twice here in the PC. On the Mac, you press Cmd+Option+Z two times in a row. The first time you will undo the selection, the second time you will undo the expansion of the canvas. So you return your file to the desired size. Now I will go ahead and zoom back in on my image just a little bit, and I will switch back to that displacement map in progress.
Nothing about this is tough, by the way. We are just following some rote commands right here. It's just reasoning your way through what's going on. Where a displacement map is concerned, it's basically this document here, this image, that's telling Photoshop how to distort another image. Both white and black result in opposite distortions. So white distorts in one direction, black distorts in the other direction. If we don't want any distortion we need gray. Well, if you look at the Alternative water.psd file, we want distortion inside the drops and no distortion outside the drops, so everywhere outside the drops, which is black right now by the way.
So now the drop area is white, and the non-drop area is black. Everywhere where we are seeing black right now needs to be gray, and everywhere where we are seeing white right now needs to stay white, but we also want some soft edges in between so that refraction curls around the water. So we need to do a combination of three things here. First, we need to expand the black area into the white area so that we're not distorting too much. It's more important that we distort too little than too much.
So we are going to expand the black area, which will ultimately be the area that does not get distorted. Then we are going to blur the transition in between the two points, and then we're going to turn the black, gray, and then we are going to save off the file. And it will be ready to go, and then we will apply that displacement map to the other image. Now I know so far it's all clear as mud, but I just want to make sure that you get at least a remedial sense of where we're going. We will get there, in full, because it's not that hard. We'll get all the way there in the next and final exercise.
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